Jon Lester tossed eight strong outings, allowing just one run and striking out nine, in defeating the White Sox on Thursday.
Lester cost himself in the sixth, when he was too slow to get over to first base on Adam Eaton's run-scoring infield single, and again in the seventh, when he failed to handle a pretty easy comebacker. But fielding issues aside -- and his awkward throws to first likely will lose him a game at some point -- he's been outstanding on the mound. He's currently sporting a 29/4 K/BB ratio in 29 innings and a 2.03 ERA. Next up for him is his second start of the month against the Yankees.
Koji Uehara earned a save with a scoreless ninth in his return to the mound Thursday against the White Sox.
Uehara showed his usual velocity in his return from a sore shoulder, but he did give up a single and miss up with a couple of splitters to a dangerous hitter in Jose Abreu with two outs. Fortunately, Abreu didn't take a cut at either of those before grounding out on a better offering. In all, Uehara threw 13 pitches. The Red Sox will likely be especially careful with him for the next few weeks, so if they have another save situation on Friday, we imagine it will go to Edward Mujica.
Chris Sale wasn't involved in the decision after allowing one run in seven innings and striking out 10 against the Red Sox on Thursday.
Sale was dominant for the most part, with the Red Sox crushing two of his very few mistakes. Fortunately, the first didn't hurt him, as Adam Eaton robbed David Ortiz of a homer in the first. The other did, though, as Xander Bogaerts was able to hit one out to left in the sixth. It was the first homer allowed by Sale in four starts this season.
Xander Bogaerts hit his first homer of the year to give the Red Sox their lone run in seven innings against Chris Sale on Thursday.
Bogaerts doesn't yet have consistent major league power at age 21, but he does show glimpses and it's only a matter of time until he's a 20- or 25-homer guy. For this year, expect more modest numbers. That he's worth owning in mixed leagues anyway owes much to Fenway and the surrounding members of Boston's lineup (even if the group is off to a slow start).
Making just his second start of the season, Paul Konerko went 0-for-4 on Thursday, leaving him 1-for-13.
With Adam Dunn and Jose Abreu off to such nice starts, the White Sox haven't found much for Konerko to do yet. Fortunately, that seems to be OK with him, though he'd surely prefer to better capitalize on what chances he does get.
James Shields fanned 12 while surrendering just one run in eight innings to beat the Astros for his first win of the year on Thursday.
It was Shields' seventh career 12-strikeout game, but his first since he joined the Royals a year ago; his season high last year was 10 strikeouts. Shields gave up six unearned runs in his last start against the Twins, but outside of the one bad inning when all of them scored, he's been excellent through four starts, amassing a 2.00 ERA and a 26/6 K/BB ratio.
Scott Feldman surrendered five runs -- four earned -- over six innings in a loss to the Royals on Thursday.
It was Feldman's first defeat in four starts for the Astros. He still has an exceptional 1.69 ERA, even though he has just as many walks (nine) as strikeouts through 26 2/3 innings.
Norichika Aoki collected two hits, his second steal and two runs scored Thursday against the Astros.
Aoki had Wednesday off, but he probably won't be sitting very often with Lorenzo Cain out for at least the next couple of weeks. He'll start being more useful in fantasy leagues once some of the guys behind him in the Royals lineup start clicking.